We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Profanity: Part 2

Recently I had the opportunity to review a play at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope PA. The play started with a creative stage set and excellent opening singing. But it wasn’t long before the aesthetic moment was broken with a loud use of profanity and a follow up of an obscene sexual moment between two characters. That was the end of the review for me… I had seen and heard enough to know that even though this was an award winning play, it did not become award winning based on true aesthetic values of art and decency. Our culture has been so lulled into accepting the obscene and profane that when it occurs on the screen or stage, there is no longer any reaction of disgust for what is clearly objectively objectionable. It is like the father who baked chocolate chip cookies for his kids and told them just before they bit into the still warm tantalizing cookies, that he had added just a tablespoon of their dog’s poop into the recipe. Not a one was eaten and the lesson of what happens when we watch something though really good, but mixed with a few profane and obscene moments, is not only distasteful but harmful to our soul. Peter informs us of this trap as he writes that Lot’s righteous soul was vexed from day to day by the things that he saw and heard. He didn’t partake in evil activity, but by hearing and seeing his soul was grievously vexed. Maybe hearing and seeing is in fact…doing. Let’s restore the values that made this country great and bring dignity back into our homes. All it takes is some backbone to stand up and walk out or to get up out of the chair and turn it off. Below is the second installment of what our culture needs to know if we are going to return to the principles that can once again restore God’s grace upon us. The word profane is Latin for “outside the temple.” All that was unclean or impure was considered profane, or “outside the temple.” Today we have brought the profane into our homes and our hearts which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. According to G.E. Veith, “profanity uses religious language in a way that desecrates or trivializes its sacred meaning.” Though this will be surprising to many, profane language includes some of the most widely used phrases in our Christian cultures: Oh my God, oh my goodness, for goodness’ sake, good heavens, oh heavens, oh my word, etc. Some of our early dictionaries give a list of profane language. The most powerful statement against profane language is found in Exodus 20:7, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” In Shakespeare’s day the word “God” was not used in the scripts of drama plays for fear that it might be used in vain. Today you cannot watch a G-rated movie or read a book without hearing or reading expression of “My God,” “O My God,” “My gosh…” etc! Words are what brought the universe into existence. God places a high value upon words. So, “may the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart be acceptable in His sight.” I love what David wrote in Psalm 141 “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 8:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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